“In the last decade, while the digital marketing space has gotten noisier and considerably less effective, print has enjoyed a renaissance of increased conversion rates and marketing return on investment. Customers actually appreciate getting a nice postcard, well-designed catalogue, or personal thank you note in the mail today.” (via www.printisbig.com)
A couple of years ago I did a test. Everyone thought I was crazy but I stuck to my guns. I was working for a Software company in the B2B space and we were running all sorts of lead gen campaigns. I wanted to prove that Print would pull higher than online. So we split our audience and sent half of them a 4 x 5 printed card in a red envelope. The other half received the identical offer via email. To receive the offer they were all sent to the same webpage to enter their information (since they were already in our database we could easily track who had received which offer). Not surprisingly (at least not to me), the response from the group that received the printed offer was DOUBLE the response of the one who received the email version.
Recently I started thinking about other areas where print is consumed in day-to-day life. Funnily enough my list consists of items that most likely don’t even give a second thought.
• Posters – Who doesn’t recall being a teen and plastering your room with posters? Well, that hasn’t changed (and I have 5 boys in my house who are living, breathing proof). And I believe the average age is getting younger and younger (we can thank Disney’s marketing making for that!)
• Comics – OK. You can read them online. But die-hard fans still covet the latest issue of their favourite action hero. According to Statistic Brain, the average amount of money spent on the top 300 Comic Books every month is $248.44 million. If you watch The Big Bang Theory, you will know that the main characters spend lots of time at their local comic book store. And the revival in action hero movies has definitely re-invigorated the life of the comic.
• Catalogues – According to Forbes, even with everyone on the Internet, catalogues are still mailing in the billions (with a B) and the reason from the marketers’ perspective is the foundation of direct marketing: catalogues work! They more than pay for the costs of getting them into the hands of customers and prospects.
I was recently at a tradeshow featuring the latest and greatest in premium incentives. And what were the vendors handing out? Catalogues! I wondered why they didn’t simply hand out cards with QR codes that went directly to the catalogue online and so I asked why. The answer I got? “We tried that. We found the majority of people still want a tangible, printed catalogue.” Still not sold? Consider this: The IKEA catalogue is the 3rd most printed publication in the world. (via information-facts.cotm).
• Trading Cards – In addition to Sports cards, there are also trading cards that feature subject material such as comics, movies, music and television. According to a 2009 whitepaper, TCGs (Trading Card Games) have grown into a pervasive form of contemporary game play, especially among a younger demographic. Just in North America alone sales are estimated to be in the neighborhood of $800 million; sales that are fueled by four different animated television shows based on TCG brands.
So what does this all mean? Although the print industry has definitely had its share of struggles over the last few years, it is far from dead. In fact, in many ways, it has the opportunity to resurrect itself simply by looking back at some tried and true channels.